Michigan’s the latest football program to see its roster hit with the annual spring personnel attrition.
The father of Kingston Davis confirmed to Sam Webb of Scout.com that his son informed UM officials earlier Friday of his intention to transfer from the Wolverines. Apparently there were two reasons that triggered the running back’s decision: a crowded backfield and chatter that he would be changing positions.
While 2016 leading rusher De'Veon Smith is gone, the Wolverines’ second-, third- and fourth-leading rushers from last season — rising sophomore Chris Evans (614 yards), rising junior Karan Higdon (425), rising fifth-year senior Ty Isaac (417) — all return. Kareem Walker, a four-star 2016 recruit rated as the No. 4 running back in the country, sat out last season because of academics but should be a part of the rotation as a redshirt freshman. They also added four-star (O'Maury Samuels) and three-star (Kurt Taylor) backs as part of their 2017 recruiting class.
A three-star 2016 recruit, Davis was rated as the No. 1 fullback in the country in that year’s class. As a true freshman, the 6-1, 245-pound back carried the ball twice for 17 yards.
One Michigan player’s off-field odyssey will continue to keep him away from his football team.
Grant Perry, mlive.com has reported, has waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will stand trial on multiple counts, including one felony. The wide receiver has been accused of groping the groin and buttocks of a female Michigan State student outside of an East Lansing bar in mid-October.
Formally, Perry has been charged with two counts of sexual assault, and one each of a minor in possession of alcohol and resisting an officer. The latter charge is the felony, the others are misdemeanors.
Thus far, a trial date has not been set. Perry’s attorneys are seeking a course that would ultimately end in probation for their client as a first-time youthful offender.
The defense has asked for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. The act allows a judge to place a defendant between age 17 and 24 on probation without a conviction. If the defendant successfully completes the terms of their probation they avoid having the charges on their criminal record. Reynolds said Perry could still be granted HYTA status at the circuit court level, which he plans to seek.
Shortly after the incident last year, Perry was suspended for two games. In mid-December, and after serving the initial suspension, the 19-year-old sophomore was indefinitely suspended by the football program after charges were formally filed. Perry did not travel with his Wolverine teammates to their bowl game.
The suspension will remain in effect until at least the case winds its way through the legal system.
Last season, Perry had 13 receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown. His 14.1 yards per catch were third on the team for players with 10-plus receptions. Over his career, the rising junior has 311 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 27 catches.
And the West Coast it is.
In early February, it was reported that Devin Asiasi was considering a transfer from Michigan with an eye on moving closer to home. A couple of weeks later, Jim Harbaugh confirmed that the California native would be transferring.
Thursday, Asiasi’s move back to the Left Coast was confirmed by his new college football home.
As an aside: One of Asiasi’s former high school teammates, Boss Tagaloa, plays defensive tackle for the Bruins and the two players had talked of going to the same school when they were recruits.
As a 6-3, 287-pound true freshman last season, Asiasi played in all 13 games. He caught two passes for 18 yards and a touchdown.
A four-star recruit in last year’s class coming out of high school at Concord De La Salle High School, Asiasi was rated as the No. 3 tight end in the country and the No. 12 player at any position in the state of California.
Barring something out of the ordinary and completely unexpected, Asiasi will have to sit out the 2017 season in order to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws. Beginning in 2018, he’d then have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
You have to love when a player puts in hard work and is recognized by his teammates for it. At LSU, fullback J.D. Moore has become the focal point of a growing campaign among his teammates to be awarded the special No. 18 jersey in Baton Rouge for the upcoming season.
Moore was captured on video taking some reps by himself on the practice field at LSU despite having his arm in a sling. He was reportedly working on his footwork and blocking drills, according to Gridiron Now, and his extra effort despite having his arm injured has been the example of the dedication that is seeing his leadership and respect skyrocket within the program. Players have begun an online campaign stumping for Moore to wear the coveted No. 18 jersey, which has typically been awarded to a player who has shown true dedication to the program and demonstrates leadership qualities all others should emulate and follow.
Former head coach Les Miles made the awarding of the No. 18 jersey a special part of the fall camp. It is unknown for sure if new head coach Ed Orgeron will carry on that tradition, but given the connection the Tigers coach seems to have with his players and how players are rallying for Moore now, it seems likely Moore is the early leader in the clubhouse for the coveted jersey.
Brandon Taylor, who previously wore the No. 18 jersey last season and apparently is offering his endorsement to Moore as well.
Helmet sticker to Gridiron Now.
Dalvin Cook and Florida State taking on Jabrill Peppers and Michigan in the Orange Bowl was pegged early on as one of the best matchups of the season and a bowl that might be better than one of the two College Football Playoff semifinal games.
While we didn’t get to see Peppers due to a hamstring injury, we did see plenty of Cook and the Wolverines battling back and forth in a thrilling game that the Seminoles ultimately ended up winning 33-32 after a pair of wild fourth quarter comebacks.
FSU led for most of the contest and used a couple of big plays in the passing game to control the first half. But the Wolverines came clawing back as momentum shifted between both squads in the second half like a game of hot potato. Cook wound up rushing for 145 yards and a touchdown (adding another 62 on three receptions) as he likely closed out his career in garnet and gold not far from where he grew up.
Quarterback Deondre Francois (222 yards, two scores) began the game by leading Florida State on a 75 yard opening drive that ended in the end zone, but his play trailed off in the third quarter and tossed an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Mike McCray.
That pick-six was the spark Michigan needed after coming so close to breaking out some big plays to cut into the lead. After allowing Francois to find the end zone on the next drive to make up for his mistake, the Wolverines rallied behind a balanced attack that busted open several big plays on a tired defense.
Quarterback Wilton Speight found Khalid Hill in the end zone to finish off a quick drive in the final quarter and then Chris Evans rumbled 30 yards run to cap off 15 point outburst in under four minutes to take the lead for the first time all night.
A huge kick return allowed Florida State to get right back into things and snatch momentum back in a flash, finishing a crazy stretch when Francois found Nyqwan Murray in the end zone for what proved to be the game-winning points. The extra point was blocked and returned for a defensive score, giving Michigan another slim opening to capture the win.
Eventually the talented ‘Noles defense came up with a huge stop on fourth down to seal the victory and cap off one of the best Orange Bowls in a long, long time.